Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) provides a minimally invasive alternative to open brain surgery, making it a powerful neurosurgical tool especially in pediatric patients. This systematic review aimed to highlight the indications and complications of LITT in the pediatric population.
In line with the PRISMA guidelines, the authors conducted a systematic review to summarize the current applications and safety profiles of LITT in pediatrics. PubMed and Embase were searched for studies that reported the outcomes of LITT in patients < 21 years of age. Retrospective studies, case series, and case reports were included. Two authors independently screened the articles by title and abstract followed by full text. Relevant variables were extracted from studies that met final eligibility, and results were pooled using descriptive statistics.
The selection process captured 303 pediatric LITT procedures across 35 studies. Males comprised approximately 60% of the aggregate sample, with a mean age of 10.5 years (range 0.5-21 years). The LITT technologies used included Visualase (89%), NeuroBlate (9%), and Multilase 2100 (2%). The most common indication was treatment of seizures (86%), followed by brain tumors (16%). The mean follow-up duration was 15.6 months (range 1.3-48 months). The overall complication rate was 15.8%, which comprised transient neurological deficits, cognitive and electrolyte disturbances, hemorrhage, edema, and hydrocephalus. No deaths were reported.
As of now, LITT’s most common applications in pediatrics are focused on treating medically refractory epilepsy and brain tumors that can be difficult to resect. The safety of LITT can provide an attractive alternative to open brain surgery in the pediatric population.